Sunday, June 30, 2019


Former Detroit Tigers ace Mickey Lolich is the latest player to be added to my on-going 1975 “In Action” sub-set, one of my favorites here on the blog for some time now:

Lolich was coming off of his sixth straight season of over 200 strikeouts, and seventh overall in his great career which began in 1963, all with Detroit.
Along the way he posted two 20-win seasons, with a high of 25 in 1971 when he started an incredible 45 games, completing 29 and throwing a staggering 376 innings!
He also posted four shutouts that year as well as a league-leading 308 strikeouts, finishing second in the Cy Young Award behind Oakland pitcher Vida Blue.
After a 12-18 campaign in 1975, Lolich was traded to the New York Mets for Rusty Staub where he went 8-13 before missing the 1977 season.
In 1979 he was back in the Big Leagues, now with the San Diego Padres, where he went 2-1 over 20 appearances, posting a brilliant 1.56 ERA over 34.2 innings pitched.
After a final season of MLB ball in 1979 that saw him go 0-2 with a bloated 4.74 ERA in 27 appearances, Lolich retired, ending up with a 217-191 record along with 2832 strikeouts, at one point the Major League record for left-handed pitchers, as well as 41 shutouts and a 3.44 ERA in 586 appearances over 16-years.

Saturday, June 29, 2019


The next no-hitter profiled in the long-running thread is the second consecutive gem tossed by a future Hall of Famer, this time it’s Bert Blyleven of the Texas Rangers, who held the California Angels hitless on September 22nd, 1977, winning 6-0:

Blyleven faced the minimum 27 batters that day, allowing only a walk to pinch-hitter Carlos May, while shortstop Bert Campaneris committed an error that was quickly erased by an Andy Etchebarren double-play.
In just two hours and seven minutes, the “Frying Dutchman” struck out seven on his way to improving his record to 14-12 while lowering his ERA to 2.72 on the season.
Sadly, only 8031 fans were on hand to see the gem on that Thursday night at Anaheim Stadium, due in part to the Angels record of 72-79 at that point, while the Rangers improved to a 86-67 record, though still 10.5 games behind the division leading Kansas City Royals, who would steam-roll to the West title and a meeting with the defending American League champion New York Yankees.
As for Blyleven, he finished the season with that 14-12 record as well as “only” 182 strikeouts, the first time he didn’t top 200 K’s since his rookie year of 1970.
Nevertheless, he’d go on to collect 3701 strikeouts over his HOF career, along with 287 wins, 60 shutouts and a very nice 3.31 ERA in 22 years.

Friday, June 28, 2019


On the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1973 card for former catcher Larry Johnson, who played parts of five seasons in the Big Leagues between 1972 and 1978:

Johnson made his MLB debut during the 1972 season, appearing in one games and going 1-for-2 at the plate while catching four innings.
He’d spend all of 1973 in the Minors before coming back in 1974 and once again appearing in only one game, this time as a pinch-runner and scoring a run, but nothing else.
In 1975 he’d again appear in only one game, which must be a record for a player to appear in only one game over the first three years of his career.
This time that one game was with the Montreal Expos where he went 1-for-3 at the plate, hitting a double while driving in the first run of his career.
1976 would see him break that one-game streak when he appeared in six games for the Expos, collecting two hits over 13 at-bats for a .154 batting average.
But all that got him was another full-season in the Minors for 1977 before coming back, now with the Chicago White Sox, for what ended up being the last taste of the Big Leagues, playing in three games and going 1-for-8 at the plate, good for a .125 average.
He’d go on to play another four professional seasons, the last of which was in the Mexican League in 1982, before retiring for good.
All told, he finished his MLB career with a .192 average, with five hits over 26 at-bats in 12 games, with two doubles, an RBI and run scored.

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1975 card for Ken Macha, who made his MLB debut during the 1974 season as a catcher, something he wouldn’t do much of again over the course of his six-year Major League career:

Macha went 3-for-5 at the plate over his first taste of the Big Leagues, scoring and driving in a run while playing one game behind the plate.
He would spend all of 1975 and 1976 in the Minors before making it back to the Majors in 1977, appearing in 35 games where he hit .274 with 26 hits in 95 at-bats.
Now generally a third baseman, he would go on to play parts of the four seasons with the Pirates, Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays before taking his bat and glove to Japan in 1982.
He’d play four years there, putting up some nice slugging numbers including 31 homers in 1984 with 93 RBIs for Chunichi, averaging over .300 for his career in the JPCL.
He’d never make it back to the Big Leagues as a player, but he would go into coaching, then later on managing, where he’d spend four years with the Oakland A’s (2003-2006) and two with the Milwaukee Brewers (2009-2010), really having a nice managerial career where he finished with a .568 winning percentage based on a 368-280 record.
In his four years with Oakland, the team finished two seasons in first place, with the other two years in second.
As a player, he finished his career with a .258 batting average, with 98 hits over 380 at-bats over 180 games, driving in 35 runs while scoring 30.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1977 card for former pitcher Buddy Schultz, who came up with the Chicago Cubs though you may remember him from his tenure later on with the St. Louis Cardinals:

Schultz was in his second MLB season in 1976 when he appeared in 29 games, throwing 23.2 innings and posting a record of 1-1 with an earned run average at 6.08.
Over the Winter he’d be traded to the Cardinals for Minor Leaguer Mike Overt, and he’d play for St. Louis the final three years of his career, going a combined 12-8 over that time with an ERA around 3.00, appearing in 133 games with three of them starts.
Injuries would derail his career, causing him to retire after the 1982 season while in the Minors, causing him to finish his Major League tenure with a very nice 15-9 record over 168 appearances, sporting an ERA at 3.68 over 240 innings, striking out 193 batters while collecting 12 saves.
Very good numbers!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019


Time to go and add Gary Matthews, aka “Sarge” to the long-line of “Nicknames of the 1970s” list, with a 1978 edition for the 16-year Major League veteran:

Matthews just finished his first season with the Atlanta Braves when this card would have come out, after playing the first five years of his Major League career with the San Francisco Giants, for whom he brought home a 1973 NL Rookie of the Year Award.
He would go on to play through the 1987 season playing pretty much equally for the Giants, Braves, Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago Cubs, with a short 45-game stint in Seattle at the very end, hitting a very nice .281 over his career with 234 homers and just under 1000 runs batted in.
In 1983 while with the “Wheez Kids” of Philly, he would help them reach the World Series with an MVP performance in the NL Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers when he slammed three homers in four games with eight RBIs.
In 1984 he’d finish fifth in the NL MVP race when he led the league in both walks and on-base-percentage, helping the Cubs reach the post-season for the first time since 1945 before losing to the San Diego padres in the Championship Series.

Monday, June 24, 2019


Here’s a 1978 “not so missing” card for former Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Stan Wall, who played the last of his three-year Big League career during the 1977 season:

Wall, who spent all nine professional seasons of his career in the Dodgers organization, appeared in 25 games for the Dodgers in 1977, going 2-3 with an earned run average of 5.34, all out of the bullpen.
The previous year saw him appear in 31 games, going 2-2 with an ERA of 3.60, throwing a career high 50 innings while also picking up a save.
In 1975 he had the first taste of the Majors, getting into 10 games for the reigning National League champs, going 0-1 with a nice 1.69 ERA over 16 innings at the age of 24.
From what I can gather, it seems those last appearances during the 1977 season were the last of his Pro career, never even appearing in another Minor League game after that.
Trying to find out why but can’t seem to find anything.
Anyone know?
Nevertheless, Wall finished up his MLB career with a record of 4-6 over 66 appearances, with an ERA of 3.86 over 98 innings pitched, all in relief.

Sunday, June 23, 2019


Looking at the 1976 airbrush job done for former “slugger” Bobby Darwin of the Milwaukee Brewers for his 1976 card, though again I wonder why Topps didn’t have an image of him in the real thing:

It’s strange that Topps had to airbrush him into a Milwaukee uni since he played the last half of the 1975 season with them, appearing in 55 games after coming over from the Minnesota Twins in a trade on June 14th for Johnny Briggs.
Nevertheless, he’d find himself on the move once again during the 1976 season, this time heading East to the Boston Red Sox after opening the year with 25 games with the Brewers, ending up appearing in 43 games with the Red Sox before finishing up his nine-year career with yet another split season between Boston and the Chicago Cubs in 1977.
He did put together three straight decent years while with Minnesota between 1972 and 1974, averaging just about 20 homers and 90 runs batted in, though leading the league in strikeouts each season.
Overall, he finished with a .251 career average, hitting 83 homers and driving in 328 runs while collecting 559 hits in 2224 at-bats in 646 games between 1962 and 1977.

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Here’s a “special” 1973 card I’ve been meaning to create for some time now, a Tom Seaver/Nolan Ryan edition with these two young pitching studs in their prime:

What can be said about these two that hasn’t already been stated a million times over?
“Tom Terrific” would go on to win three Cy Young Awards, top 300 wins and 60 shutouts, and strikeout over 3000 batters, while his former flame-throwing teammate “The Ryan Express” would demolish the Major League record for career strikeouts with over 5000, also win over 300 games and throw a record seven no-hitters while pitching into his mid 40’s.
Just an incredible pair of pitchers who marched straight for the Hall of Fame.
I won’t start listing their insane stats here since I’ve probably done so on the blog a couple dozen times before, but these two guys were, are and always will be legends of the game.

Friday, June 21, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1979 card for former New York Mets catcher Butch Benton, who made his MLB debut during the 1978 season:

Benton appeared in four games in his Big League debut as a September call-up, going 2-for-4 at the plate with a couple of runs batted in.
He would spend all of 1979 in the Minors before making it back in 1980, playing in 12 games though collecting one hit over 21 at-bats, good for a .048 batting average.
Again, he’d spend all of 1981 in the Minors before coming back, this time with the Chicago Cubs in 1982, hitting .143 with a hit over seven at-bats in four games.
Once again, Benton would find himself back in the Minors, this time for the 1983 and 1984 seasons before coming back for one last hurrah in the Majors, now with the Cleveland Indians, where he appeared in a career-high 31 games, hitting .179 with 12 hits over 67 at-bats, scoring five runs while driving in seven.
That would be it for his MLB tenure, though I see that he would be out of pro ball between 1986 and 1990 before coming back in the Detroit organization in 1991 playing for their Triple-A team, getting into nine games, before retiring for good.
No info on where, if anyplace, he played in those “missing” seasons, but nevertheless he finished up his career with a .162 average, with 16 hits over 99 at-bats over 51 games and four seasons.

Thursday, June 20, 2019


Today I post up my 1974 Chris Chambliss “Traded” card, a card that would have signified a very important transaction for the burgeoning “Bronx Zoo” World Championship teams of the late-70’s:

Chambliss came to the New York Yankees on April 26th of 1974 along with Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw for four pitchers: Fred Beene, Tom Buskey, Steve Kline and Fritz Peterson.
From Cleveland’s standpoint it seemed like a solid trade, with four arms coming their way for the former AL Rookie of the Year in Chambliss and a young Tidrow and veteran Upshaw.
But it turned out to be a golden trade for the Yankees, not only getting what turned out to be their first baseman for the rest of the decade in Chambliss, but a rock-solid pitcher in Tidrow who was valuable not only out of the bullpen but also as a spot starter when needed.
Throw in the veteran Upshaw for a brief tenure, and the Yankees really did come out on top with this one, especially with Chambliss who provided the organization with one of the all-time greatest team moments in 1976 with his Pennant clinching home run in Game 5 against the upstart Kansas City Royals.
Chambliss would play with the Yankees through the decade, before moving on to the Atlanta Braves in 1980 where he’d play until 1986 before one last trip back to the Bronx when he appeared in one game with the Yankees before retiring in 1988.
The man put in a solid career, topping 2000 hits while driving in 972 runs while scoring 912 himself, with a nice .279 batting average over 2175 games and 7571 at-bats between 1971 and 1988, with that Rookie of the Year Award in 1971 and a Gold Glove thrown in (1978).
Great memories of him in the Bronx when I was still in grade school!

Wednesday, June 19, 2019


Another fun card to create, a 1972 “not really missing” card for former pitcher Mike Jackson, who appeared in one single game during the 1971 season while (barely) with the St. Louis Cardinals:

Jackson, who made his MLB debut the season before while with the Philadelphia Phillies, appeared in one game with St. Louis, throwing only two-thirds of an inning, walking one batter while giving up a hit, not factoring in a decision.
He’d find himself with the Kansas City Royals in 1972, appearing in seven games while posting a record of 1-2, before making his Big League swan song in 1973, splitting the year between the Royals and Cleveland Indians over ten appearances, again not factoring in a decision.
After a 1974 season spent in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, he called it a career, finishing up with a record of 2-3, sporting an earned run average of 5.80 over 23 appearances and 49.2 innings of work, including three starts and seven games finished.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Here’s the second and final “not so missing” card for former New York Mets infielder Lute Barnes, a 1974 edition, capping-off his brief two-season Major League career:

Barnes appeared in three games for the Mets during the 1973 season, going 1-for-2 at the plate with a run batted in and two runs scored.
This was coming off a 1972 season that saw him debut with 24 appearances, hitting .236 with 17 hits over 72 at-bats, including six RBIs and five runs scored.
Those two showings would end up being the sum total of his Big League career, as he would spend the next two years in the Minors for both the Mets and Cincinnati Reds organizations before retiring after the 1975 season.
All told, he finished his career with a .243 average, with 18 hits over 74 at-bats in 27 games, all with the Mets in 1972 and 1973.

Monday, June 17, 2019


Fun card to create today, my 1978 “not so missing” card for seven-game Major League catcher Dave Criscione of the Baltimore Orioles:

Criscione appeared in all seven games of his Big League career in 1977, in the span of two weeks in July, collecting three hits over nine at-bats including a home run.
It was a somewhat long climb to the Majors, starting his pro career in 1970 as an 18-year-old with the Washington Senators organization.
Sadly for him, those seven games with the Orioles in the Summer of 1977 would be it, as he would spend all of 1978 in the Minor Leagues before retiring from pro ball by season’s end.
But hey, how many former players can say they retired from Major League baseball with a .333 career batting average!?

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Here’s a 1970 “Nicknames of the 1970’s” card for “Moonman” Mike Shannon, who played his entire Major League career with his hometown St. Louis Cardinals from 1962 until a kidney ailment ended his career at the age of only 30:

Shannon’s Big League career was pretty much split between the outfield and third base, playing full-time between 1965 and 1969 and being a part of both Cardinal championship teams in 1964 and 1967.
He earned the name “Moonman” for one of two reasons according to SABR: while in the Minors he dodged a pitch while at-bat so slowly that teammates said it looked like a “moon man”, or, according to Hall of Famer Bob Gibson, Shannon was known to start talking, shifting from topic to topic so quickly that by the time he was done you’d be walking away “scratching your head, trying to figure out what he just said.”
Sadly, inn 1970, while still in the prime of his career, he contracted “nephritis”, a kidney disease, which ended his playing days.
With that setback, Shannon shifted careers and became a radio/tv commentator for the Cardinals, something he would do to to this very day!
In 2014 he was elected to the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame for his life-long tenure with the organization as player and tv personality, reaching over 60 years including his Minor League days.
Just amazing.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


The next No-Hitter profiled in the long-running thread through the 1970’s is the gem tossed by future Hall of Famer Dennis Eckerlsey on May 30th, 1977:

“Eck” was still a young stud starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in 1977, and perhaps reached the pinnacle of his career when he faced the California Angels on a cool May evening at Cleveland Stadium.
Facing off against California’s Frank Tanana, who was having himself an excellent year, Eckersley was just a touch better when he held the Angels hitless, issuing only one base-on-balls to first baseman Tony Solaita while striking out 12 and facing the minimum 27 batters.
Sadly for Tanana, he gave up a run over eight innings, striking out six and lowering his season ERA to 2.08, dropping to 8-2 on the season, while Eckersley improved to 5-3, with his ERA getting down to 2.98.
Of course, after another seven seasons or so of being a starter, Eckersley transformed his career and became the Hall of Fame relief pitcher who would pitch well into his 40’s, winning not only a Cy Young Award in 1992 but the league’s MVP Award as well.
Incredible to think that at the moment of his no-hitter, Eckersley STILL had another 21 seasons of his MLB career to go!

Friday, June 14, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1977 card for former New York Mets outfielder Benny Ayala, who appeared in just under a couple dozen games during the 1976 season:

Ayala hit .115 with three hits over 26 at-bats for the Mets, making it back to the Big Leagues while spending all of 1975 in the Minors.
His first taste of the Majors was in 1974 when he played in 23 games, hitting .235 with 16 hits over 68 at-bats, scoring nine while driving in eight.
He’d find himself in the St. Louis Cardinals organization in 1977, appearing in one game for the Redbirds and going 1-for-3 before spending all of 1978 in the Minor Leagues.
In 1979 he was back in the Big Leagues, where he was to stay through the 1985 season, all but the last with the Baltimore Orioles as a back-up outfielder/pinch hitter.
By the time he retired after a season with the Cleveland Indians in 1985, he finished with a.251 career average, with 217 hits in 865 at-bats, with 38 homers and 145 runs batted in over 425 games

Thursday, June 13, 2019


Today we have a “not so missing” 1978 card for former outfielder Bob Jones, who stuck around the Majors for parts of nine seasons over 13 years:

Jones appeared in 14 games for the California Angels in 1977, hitting .176 with three hits over 17 at-bats including a homer with three runs batted in.
This was after somewhat of a break-through season of 1976 when he appeared in 78 games, collecting 187 plate-appearances, even if he hit only .211 with 35 hits over 166 official at-bats.
In 1978 he had an excellent season in the Minor Leagues, hitting .307 with 14 homers and 102 RBIs, but never got a call up to the Big leagues, prompting him to go to Japan where he played for the Chunichi Dragons before coming back and suiting up for the Texas Rangers in 1981 when he played in 10 games.
He’d spend all of 1982 in the Minor Leagues again, but in 1983 made it back, where he’d play out his career through the 1986 seasons.
By the time he left the Majors in 1986, he finished with a career .221 batting average, with 133 hits over 603 at-bats in 314 games, with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs.
After his playing days, he pretty much made himself a baseball lifer, becoming a coach and Minor League manager in the Texas organization, eventually becoming the franchise’s all-time winning Minor League manager with 1285 career wins.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1976 card for former pitcher Dave Johnson, who appeared in a half-dozen games for the Baltimore Orioles in 1975:

Johnson was playing in his second season in the Big Leagues in 1975 after appearing in 11 games for Baltimore in 1974.
In his rookie year he performed very well, going 2-2 with a 2.93 earned run average over 15.1 innings of work along with two saves and six strikeouts.
In 1975 he posted a record of 0-1, with an ERA at 4.15 over 8.2 innings, striking out four but walking seven while spending most of the season in the Minors.
After a full season back in the Minors in 1976, he was back on a Major League mound in 1977, now with the Minnesota Twins, going 205 with a 4.58 ERA over 30 appearances and 72.2 innings, even starting six games, the first starts he made in his career.
Sadly for him, the following year he made only six appearances, going 0-2 with a bloated 7.50 ERA, in what ended up being the last appearances of his MLB career, and from all evidence, his professional career.
He finished up his Big League tenure with a 4-10 record, with an ERA at 4.64 over 53 appearances and 108.2 innings of work, making seven starts and saving two.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019


Time to go and add “The Bull” Greg Luzinski to my long-running 1975 “In-Action” sub-set, as he was in the middle of a sick run of MVP-caliber seasons while helping the Philadelphia Phillies fight for a Playoff berth:

Between 1975 and 1978 Luzinski was a top-10 MVP candidate, with two second-place finishes in 1975 and 1977 when he drove in 120 and 130 runs respectively along with 34 and 39 home runs.
And do not forget, he was a .300 hitter! He topped .300 three straight seasons, from 1975 to 1977 while making the All-Star team each year.
Thing about this: Luzinski retired after the 1984 season with 307 homers, 1128 runs batted in, and 1795 hits, and he was only 33 years of age.
It’s easy to forget that he really put up great numbers while retiring at a relatively young age, even if he played for parts of 15 seasons between 1970 and 1984.

Monday, June 10, 2019


Been meaning to create a “special” 1979 card for this great image of Hall of Famer Willie Stargell and Willie McCovey towards the end of their brilliant careers, so here goes:

Two giants of the game just sitting in the dugout one afternoon, talking about what, I have no idea, but I sure wish I was there to just soak it all in!
McCovey, a former Rookie of the Year and MVP, with Stargell also an MVP, would both find their way to Cooperstown slugging just about 1000 home runs while striking fear into the hearts of many a Major League pitcher over the course of about 20 years.
Just two awesome players of their era who were sharing a friendly moment hanging out on a sunny afternoon. Wish they were both still with us to keep sharing their stories.
Rest in Peace “Pops” and “Stretch”.

Sunday, June 9, 2019


If I’m going to have this long-running “Nicknames of the 1970’s” thread, at some point I have to add Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher, aka “The Lip”, so here goes, on a 1971 template:

Durocher was quite “The Lip” during his career as both a player over his 17-season career and then manager for 24 years, with some overlap as he was one of the successful player-managers in the late-30’s/early-40’s with the Brooklyn Dodgers.
If you haven’t done so already, read up on his biography, it’s quite a barn-burner with his outspoken and fiery character, Hollywood extra-curricular “activities”, and of course quotes, like the ever-famous (though not accurately attributed) “Nice guys finish last”.
As a player he put in 17 decent years, starting out with the Ruth & Gehrig New York Yankees in the late-20’s, even playing with the famous “Gashouse Gang” St. Louis Cardinals of the 1930’s, and finishing up with a .247 average in 1637 games as a shortstop between 1925 and 1945.
In the meantime, in the late-30’s he put in a few seasons as a player-manager with the Brooklyn Dodgers, turning the team around and eventually making them the force that they would be in the 1940’s and 1950’s.
Overall as a Big League skipper, he put in 24 years, won 2008 games, and won three Pennants and a World Championship, in 1954 guiding the New York Giants after shocking the baseball world going from the cross-town rival Dodgers to the Giants in 1948.
By the time this card here would have hit the candy-stores in 1971, he was managing the Chicago Cubs, keeping them in the first division while already in his late-60’s.
He would even go on to manage the Houston Astros in 1972 and 1973, leading them to a respectable 82-80 record in ‘73, his last as a Major League manager, wrapping up a Hall of Fame career that started some 50 years prior!
A true baseball “lifer”!
“The Lip”!

Saturday, June 8, 2019


Today the blog offers up a 1973 “not so missing” card for former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bill Gilbreth, who played parts of three Major League seasons, two in the “Motor City”:

Gilbreth appeared in two games for the Tigers during the 1972 season, not factoring in a decision while posting a 16.20 earned run average because of his nine earned runs allowed in only five innings of work.
The previous year, his first in the Big Leagues, he fared much better when he posted a 2-1 record over nine games, with an ERA at 4.80, starting five of those appearances and completing two of them.
After missing all of 1973, he was back in Pro Ball in 1974, now with the California Angels, where he started the season in the Minors but make it all the way back to an MLB mound, appearing in three games for California but only tossing 1.1 innings, no decisions, while sporting a rough 13.50 ERA.
Turned out those were his last appearances in professional ball, let alone Major League ball, finishing up with a record of 2-1 along with an ERA at 6.69 over 14 appearances and 36.1 innings pitched.

Friday, June 7, 2019


Here’s a “not so missing” 1974 card for nine-game Major League First Baseman Frank Ortenzio of the Kansas City Royals:

The power-hitting slugger put in five years in the Kansas City Minor League system before finally getting the call-up in September of 1973.
I’m assuming the Royals organization had some high hopes for the youngster who slammed 32, 26 and 19 homers over the past three seasons respectively.
To be honest, the man did not disappoint, as he proceeded to hit .280 over his nine-games, hitting a homer and driving in six runs with seven hits over 25 at-bats.
Yet oddly, and I don’t know why, he never got a shot at the big time again, even though he went on to post some big years in the Minors through the 1978 season, his last as a pro.
In 1977, still only 26 years old, he was playing for Denver of the Montreal Expos organization, and had a huge year when he hit 40 homers with 126 runs batted in, scoring 100 and hitting .311.
You’d think those numbers would get him another call-up?
Apparently the team was so loaded with young talent Ortenzio never made it back to a Big League diamond, instead going on to play the 1978 season split between the Montreal and San Diego Padres Minor League systems, retiring thereafter.
He finished his MLB career with those nine games in 1973, with that respectable .280 average, and some big time Minor League seasons.

Thursday, June 6, 2019


Time to spotlight another no-hitter from the 1970’s, the first one thrown during the 1977 season, that of Kansas City Royals pitcher Jim Colborn, who tosses quite a gem against the Texas Rangers on May 14th at Royals Stadium:

First off, I was really hoping to find a better image of Colborn in a Royals uniform for this card. But sadly, this was the best (and ONLY) one I could find that had the adequate resolution. So forgive the slightly “off” clarity.
Colborn came over from the Milwaukee Brewers over the Winter and put together a great season for the eventual American League West champions, going 18-14 with an earned run average of 3.62 over 36 appearances, all but one starts.
A former 20 game winner with the Brewers in 1973 (the first 20-game winner in franchise history), he made the only All-Star team of his 10-year career that season when he paired those 20 wins with a 3.18 ERA and four shutouts over 43 appearances and 36 starts.
The 1977 season would end up being his second best season under the Big League sun, and it’s peak was that May 14th evening when he went on to face only 26 “official” batters, getting the only blemish on his night, a walk to catcher Jim Sundberg, was quickly erased by a double-play off the bat of Juan Beniquez.
He would strikeout six batters, while cruising along to a no-hit gem in two-hours and 10 minutes, improving his record to 5-3 at that time, with a sparkling 2.23 ERA.
Ironically, that 1977 season would be his last solid year as a Big League pitcher, and as a matter of fact he’d play ony one more year, 1979, when he split the year with the Royals and Seattle Mariners, going a combined 4-12 with a 5.24 ERA over 28 appearances.
But just like that, his career was over at the age of 32, finishing up with a record of 83-88, with an ERA of 3.80 over 301 appearances and 1597.1 innings pitched between 1969 and 1978.

Wednesday, June 5, 2019


Up on the blog this morning, I present a “not so missing” 1974 card for former pitcher Dick Selma, who appeared in only six games during the 1973 season for the Philadelphia Phillies:

Selma, who had some ups-and-downs during his career between 1965 and 1974, was coming of one of those “down” years in 1973 when he posted a record of 1-1 for the Phils in those six appearances, with an earned run average of 5.63 over eight innings pitched.
He’d go on to split the 1974 season with the California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers, going 2-2 with an ERA at 6.39, before spending the next couple of years in the Minors for the Los Angeles Dodgers but never getting a shot back to a Big League mound, retiring before the 1977 campaign.
He had some nice years for some hard-luck teams earlier in his career, such as the 1968 New York Mets when he posted an ERA of 2.75 over 33 appearances, though sporting a record of 9-10 for the second-division team.
Sadly for him, he found himself with the new San Diego Padres in 1969, missing out on that “impossible” run the Mets had straight to a World Championship.
All told, he finished his 10-year career with a record of 42-54, with an ERA at 3.62 over 307 appearances and 840.2 innings pitched, with six shutouts and 31 saves.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


Here’s a career-capping “not so missing” 1971 card for former pitcher Fred Talbot, who made one last appearance in a Major League game during the 1970 season:

Talbot threw 1.2 innings on June 14th, 1970, giving up a couple of runs on a homer against the Baltimore Orioles, closing out a nice eight year career that began in 1963 when he came up with the Chicago White Sox as a 22-year-old.
He would go on to play for Chicago, Oakland/Kansas City, the New York Yankees and the Seattle Pilots over those eight seasons, compiling a record of 38-56, with an earned run average of 4.12 over 195 appearances, with 126 of them starts, as well as four shutouts and collected a save in that time, with 26 complete games and 853.2 innings pitched.

Monday, June 3, 2019


Up on the blog today we have a “not so missing” 1972 card for former San Francisco Giants infielder/outfielder Frank Johnson, who played the last games of his Big League career in 1971:

Johnson appeared in 32 games for San Francisco in 1971, collecting only four hits over 49 at-bats for a dismal .082 batting average.
He would go on to play another three seasons in the Minor Leagues for the organization, but never get the call back up, leaving him with a career .211 average over 196 games in parts of six seasons, all with the Giants.
He had 92 career hits, with 47 runs scored and 43 runs batted in along with 10 extra base hits.
For me, I will always remember Johnson as the very first 1969 card I ever got as an 11-year-old “collector” in 1980 when I started to try and get at least one card for each Topps set.
I was lucky to find the Johnson card at an antique store in the ‘hood, along with 1970 cards of Jack Aker and Hank Allen, sending me home like I just hit the lottery! If I remember correctly the cards were a quarter each.
The good ole days!

Sunday, June 2, 2019


A while back I created a 1975 traded card for Hall of Fame pitcher Gaylord Perry, reflecting his trade to the Texas Rangers for pitcher Jim Bibby.
Well today I send it back the other way with a traded card for Bibby (though he was sent packing along with two other players: Jackie Brown and Rick Waits and $100,000):

Bibby was coming off a season that saw him go 19-19, though his earned run average was an unsightly 4.74 over 41 starts, with five shutouts.
Nevertheless, he was the key in that trade for the Cleveland Indians as they sent their recent Cy Young winner South-West.
Bibby would perform well enough over his two-plus seasons with the Tribe, going 30-29 overall with a nice 3.36 ERA over 95 appearances, 63 of which were starts.
Funny enough Perry would produce relatively similar numbers for the Rangers before he was sent to the San Diego Padres to start the 1978 season. So no one really came out “ahead” on this one.
As for Bibby, he’d have his two best seasons in the Big Leagues when he was with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1979 and 1980 when he went a combined 31-10, leading the league in winning percentage both years, while also getting named to his only All-Star game in 1980.
All told, by the time he retired after the 1984 season, he finished with a record of 111-101, with an ERA of 3.76 over 340 appearances, 239 of which were starts, along with 19 shutouts and eight saves over 12-seasons.

Saturday, June 1, 2019


Next in line for a 1975 “in-action” card in my long-running set is former All-Star second baseman Dave Cash of the Philadelphia Phillies, who goes unnoticed these days but had a wonderful run in the middle of the decade:

Cash, who played the first five years of his Big League career with the Pittsburgh Pirates, came over to the “City of Brotherly Love” in October of 1973 in a trade for pitcher Ken Brett, and did not disappoint the Phillie faithful, having his three best years as a Major Leaguer between 1974-1976.
In those three seasons Cash averaged over 200 hits a season, along with a .300 average while playing pretty much every single game, even setting the MLB record (since broken) of 699 at-bats during the 1975 season.
He’d sign with the Montreal Expos in the Winter of 1976 as a Free Agent, and would have one more very good year in 1977 before quickly having his career turn South.
After an injury-plagued 1979 season he found himself with the San Diego padres in 1980, where he hit .227 over 130 games, before retiring at only 32 years of age.
All told, Cash finished with a very nice .283 career average, with 1571 hits over 5554 at-bats and 1422 games between 1969 and 1980, stealing 120 bases and scoring 732 runs.


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